Most children are naturally curious about nature and the world around them so it's easy to see why many homeschool families incorporate nature studies into their classrooms. Resources to supplement your studies are readily available in bookstores, libraries and across the internet. Using the Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg and LibriVox databases, below are some books we found in a variety of downloadable formats that also have audio versions available. Most are older titles but still provide great information that can be used.
Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock (Internet Archive) – This is the book that many homeschool families use as a spine for their nature studies. Other nature books by Anna Botsford Comstock and her husband John Henry Comstock can be found here.
Handbook of Nature-Study, Part 1 (LibriVox) – The audio version of this book is still in progress. Currently included are Part I, The Teaching of Nature-Study and Part II, Animal Life, Chapter I, Bird Study. Other audios of books by Anna Botsford Comstock can be found here.
Seed Babies by Margaret Warne Morley (Internet Archive) – Written in a conversational form between two brother and the seeds they encounter, this book is meant to encourage children to discover the answers to their questions about seeds. More books by Margaret Warner Morley can be located here.
House, Garden and Field: A Collection of Short Nature Studies by L.C. Miall (Internet Archive) – The essays in this book can be used as a starting point for a variety of nature studies around the home.
House, Garden and Field: A Collection of Short Nature Studies (LibriVox) – Most of the 56 lessons are short to listen to and provide inspiration to children to examine the world where they live.
The Bird Study Book by T. Gilbert Pearson (Internet Archive) – Thomas Gilbert Pearson was an avid ornithologist who co-founded the National Association of Audubon Societies, later known as the National Audubon Society.
The Bird Study Book (LibriVox) – Chapter readings range between 15 minutes to half-an-hour.
The Children's Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck – Children will enjoy learning about bees with this book written by this Nobel Prize winning author.
The Children's Life of the Bee (LibriVox) – The 6 chapters of this book beautifully paint a clear picture for children to envision of the life of bees and their duties within the colony.
An Elementary Study of Insects by Leonard Haseman (Project Gutenberg) – Explore the world of entomology with this book full of interesting information and images as well as study suggestions.
An Elementary Study of Insects (LibriVox) – If bugs are your kid's thing, then they might really enjoy this book. Most of the insects can be found around the yard making it even more appealing to your young entomologist.
Insect Adventures by Jean-Henri Fabre (Internet Archive) – This author's works bothered other scientists of his day because they considered it to be "too interesting" as he notes in his Preface. The detailed descriptions told in a relaxing manner will open up the insect world to your kids.
Insect Adventures (LibriVox) – The delightful first-person observations of the author will keep your children interested even if they are not bug-enthusiasts.
Sea Stories for Wonder Eyes by Mary Earle Hardy (Internet Archive) – Told in story form, little ones will enjoy learning about how water makes it way to the oceans, how sand is created, and about different creatures that live in and around the sea.
Sea Stories for Wonder Eyes (LibriVox) – Read by several different readers, the 3 to 9-minute chapters are perfect for short attention spans.
Water Wonders Every Child Should Know by Jean M. Thompson (Project Gutenberg) – Students can learn about the water cycle and its forms in dew, rain, frost, snow and ice. There are many microphotographs throughout the book providing a close look at water in different forms.
Water Wonders Every Child Should Know (LibriVox) – When listening to this audio, the reader refers the listener to the images in the book which makes it a great follow-along read.
Ways of Wood Folk by William J. Long (Internet Archive) – Join the author as he shares stories of his observations of animals in the forests of eastern North America.
Ways of Wood Folk (LibriVox) – This book is also read by several different volunteers and chapter times range from about 10 minutes to about 25 minutes.
Wilderness Babies by Julia Augusta Schwartz (Project Gutenberg) – These stories teach children about a variety of mammal babies, how they grow and learn.
Wilderness Babies (LibriVox) – Kids will learn about the opossum, manatee, whale, elk, beaver, rabbit, squirrel, fox, wolf, and mole with these 6 to 10-minute stories.
Within the Deep by R. Cadwallader Smith (Project Gutenberg) – This book presents information about life in the sea in the form of brief lessons that include "exercises" (questions) at the end of each lesson.
Within the Deep (LibriVox) – Learn about fish, seals, whales, octopus, sharks, coral, sponges and more. Audio chapters for this book are mostly less than 10 minutes long making them another one good for short trips around town.
These resources can provide new opportunities to add a nature study lesson into your day, whether at home or on the go.